Calling all men: it’s Men’s Health Week – a great time to take stock and think about your health.
We challenged a few of our male colleagues at Asteron Life to take the What’s Your Score quiz and see what they learned. It’s a health survey designed by Men’s Health Week to get men thinking about how to look after their biggest asset – their health.
The team at Men’s Health Week are encouraging men all over the country to take What’s Your Score. Now that we’ve done it, we’re challenging you to take it too at www.menshealthweek.co.nz.
Meet our participants:
Aaron Tsui is a Senior Analyst in our Insights and Retention team; Jay Nam is a Case Manager; Nip Carthelis is a Communications Manager; and James Thomson is a Claims Account Relationship Manager.
Thanks for taking the survey! So… what was your score?
Aaron: 48 – orange zone*; Jay: 62 – orange zone*; Nip: 52 – orange zone*; James: 58 – orange zone*
What’s your reaction to your score? Was the result as you expected?
Aaron: I know I do a few things that aren’t that healthy at times, but I was surprised at the amount of checks that men are advised to do over and above prostate health. I’m only three points shy of the green zone though...
Jay: I’m extremely surprised. I definitely expected to be in the green zone. I consider myself to be in relatively good shape and fitness and I’m within a normal BMI. I think the significance of this score is not about what my body looks like, or how fit I am. Instead, the score gives me an indication of how important proactive steps are to ensure I remain healthy, things like regular blood checks and regular monitoring for prostate cancer and bowel cancer.
Nip: I wasn’t too surprised. I know there are some areas that I could improve on, like getting more regular exercise and having proactive conversations with my GP.
James: I was somewhat surprised. My score was a bit higher than I would have thought. I exercise a lot and eat relatively healthily but what came through was that I, perhaps, wasn’t getting doctors check-ups as often as I should be.
Were there any areas of health that you hadn’t thought about before?
Aaron: I hadn’t given much thought to bowel cancer. I also haven’t checked for skin cancer in the past. I don’t burn that often and so I thought I didn’t have anything to worry about. I don’t use sunscreen that much either… which probably isn’t the right approach.
Jay: Because I’m relatively young (I turn 30 this year) and relatively fit, I’ve never thought about the need to have my blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar levels checked. And the same goes for regular skin checks and testicular checks. But I guess I’m now getting to the age where I need to be more aware of these things to stay healthy.
Nip: I hadn’t thought much about the proactive conversations that I should be having with my GP and the regular tests I should do.
James: Not really. I think working in life insurance claims, I understand the risks, but I probably hadn’t thought about the fact I’m now at an age where regular checks and tests are really important.
What’s your usual routine for looking after your health?
Aaron: I go to the gym 4 times a week for about 1.5 hrs each session which is more than average I would say. I also take vitamin supplements and only drink on weekends.
Jay: I do a few things. I try to get at least seven hours sleep a night (though this can be difficult because I have a young child). I get regular exercise – usually around two hours of cardio a week. I try to eat healthily and… I manage stress with meditation and prayers and the occasional glass of red wine!
Nip: I swim for 45 minutes every weekend. I also walk for 15 minutes three days a week from the bus stop to work.
James: There are a few things I do. I’ve never been the best sleeper, so I try and steer away from things that might stop me from sleeping well. I enjoy exercising so do a lot of running and also play football. Football helps with fitness but it’s also a great opportunity to unwind and enjoy the company of your mates on a Saturday afternoon. It’s more social than competitive for me these days. I’m also focussing more on what I eat and trying to limit chocolate and sugary foods.
Is there anything you’ll do, or focus on more, now that you’ve taken What’s Your Score?
Aaron: Yes, I’ve booked a general check-up and a blood test (it’s been three years since my last blood test). I’ll also be asking my GP about bowel cancer and about assessing other risk factors. Plus, I’m doing dry June, July and August. May the Force be with me!
Jay: I will definitely think about adding regular (at least annual) blood checks going into my 30s. I’m also going to start monitoring my alcohol-free days. And I’m hoping to quit smoking from my 30th birthday in September.
Nip: I’m planning to be more proactive about getting regular health checks with my GP. I’m also going to think about how to increase my physical activity – my current exercise routine doesn’t add up to 2.5 hours week.
James: What stood out for me was the need for more regular check-ups with the doctor. I will generally only go to the doctor when I’m sick (and even then, I’ll try to avoid it). I’m probably getting to an age now where I should be more proactive and book in annual health check-ups.
*What’s Your Score divides survey scores into three groups: scores of 18-45 are in the green zone; 46-70 in orange; and 71-90 in red. For men with scores like our participants, the survey suggests keeping health at the forefront of your mind and booking in for annual men’s health checks. For more information go to www.menshealthweek.co.nz